The week started off with a shocking theft, the recovery of the stolen item (in multiple installments) the announcement of a new book that is already getting a mixed reception, an audience with an American University, the announcement that several people are moving closer to sainthood....and it closed with the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life laying out their two-year plan. More details on how the Vatican is focusing on consecrated life can be found below. For everything else watch Vatican Connections, above.
In preparation for the 2015 Year for Consecrated Life, the Vatican department that oversees religious communities is updating the documents that regulate different aspects of religious life.
Presenting plans for the Year for Consecrated life Archbishop Jose Carballo, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life said the dicastery has been working with various organizations to revise the documents that regulate: the relationship between bishops and religious communities, societies of contemplative life, and institutes of religious brothers.
Archbishop Carballo said, “we are expecting a document from the Holy Father during the year for consecrated life, to replace the current document on contemplative life, Sponsa Christi which was promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1950”
The archbishop added that Pope Francis asked for work to go ahead on revising Verbi Sponza, a 1999 document about the autonomy of contemplative cloistered communities. He said although the document is fairly recent, “the evolution of contemplative life in recent years has made it necessary to revise the current discipline and autonomy” of cloistered communities, paying close attention to formation in those communities.
In addition to the documents being updated, the congregation will release a new document directed at religious brothers.
Archbishop Carballo said the new text, “is about the vocation and mission of religious brother in lay institutes. A lot of work has gone into this document, in collaboration with these institutes.”
On March 8 and 9 the congregation will host a symposium at Rome’s Pontifical Antonianum University on managing community finances and assets.
During 2015 the congregation expects to hold several international meetings for members of religious institutes. Archbishop Carballo said there willbe one meeting specifically for young and newly professed religious men and women. A second international gathered will be held for formators in men’s and women’s communities.
Pope Francis announced the 2015 Year for Consecrated life in 2013 during a meeting with superior generals of men’s communities November 29. No opening date has been set, but Archbishop Carballo said, “we are thinking of a solemn celebration presided by the Holy Father. Possibly, if he can, November 21 2015 which is 50 years from the promulgation of Perfecate Caritatis” the Vatican II document about religious life.